The historically rich tradition of Greek life has become ingrained within the ‘societal hierarchy’ of universities across the country. The prominence of fraternity and sorority involvement has irrefutably influenced and created prejudice from the perspective of generations of college students; past, current, and future alike. As of today, a number of glaringly negative stances are directed towards Greek life due to the notoriety it has gained from accounts of extreme hazing and binge-drinking fatalities. Concurrently, a nationwide discussion has commenced regarding what overarching benefits Greek life provides to all students, regardless of Greek affiliation. Nevertheless, copious amounts of students continue to undergo the rushing process in order to become a brother/sister of a fraternity/sorority. Upon joining Greek life, students are given a unique opportunity to acquaint themselves and become familiar with a multitude of different students who too are members of Greek life. These newfound friendships, a core principle upon which fraternities/sororities were built, is without doubt one of the most commonly cited reasons behind joining a Greek organization. In fact, the task of becoming personable in order to build camaraderie between new brothers/sisters is widely thought to be one of, if not the most beneficial aspect that Greek life provides to the college campus. What most students may not realize, though, is the importance of the participation and engagement of Greek alumni members and their duty to uphold the eminence and likeability of their previous chapter. Furthermore, the impact an active alumni support base creates could benefit not only those who belong to Greek life, but it could also benefit everyone on campus.
One significant way Greek alumni members are able to benefit an entire collegiate community and Greek houses simultaneously is by graciously donating large amounts of money towards the financial support of the university. According to the Elite Daily, university donations received from Greek alumni are estimated to make up roughly 75% of all money donated to universities in total. If these Greek alumni members served as primary donation benefactors towards a university’s fund, without their contributions the university’s expenditure would suffer a substantial blow. Furthermore, if these donations were not provided at all, the consequences may indirectly affect each and every student. The US News & World Report states that, “The cost of educating a student (which includes recreational and extracurricular opportunities) is far more than the cost of tuition, therefore much of the gap between tuition and actual cost is covered by alumni funding”. Otherwise it could be assumed that with an absence of donations from alumni members, cost of tuition for all students would be prone to inflation. It is also noted that donations sent in by Greek alumni members seem to be much more generous in value than most donations non-Greek alumni members would send in. For instance, an article titled The Dark Power of Fraternities, written by Caitlin Flanagan, an Atlantic contributor, states that “Fraternity men statistically tend to be the most generous (donation-wise) of all students to their alma maters”, which only further solidifies the loyalty that these alumni members display to the entire community. The donations provided by Greek alumni could also benefit the community by financing a variety of on campus opportunities. A few examples include student events, scholarships, staff programmatic development, student organization initiatives, etc. It is said without any doubt that the donations made by Greek alumni members may certainly benefit all members of a collegiate community, regardless of Greek affiliation or lack thereof.
An additional facet within the general community that Greek alumni have proven to be beneficial in is through their appreciable support of school-sponsored fundraisers. Philanthropy is perhaps one of the most commonly centralized morals to any university, and is likewise idealized in virtually all Greek chapters. To help bolster local issues and raise money, several fundraisers are held annually by volunteers and any students that cares to participate. While the majority of the donations yielded from each fundraiser is rightfully credited to the effort of student volunteers, it should also be noted that Greek alumni members serve just as impactful of a role as the students. The National Panhellenic Council (an umbrella organization that represents 26 national sororities on more than 670 campuses) estimates that its student and alumni members raise more than $30 million a year solely for charity. In the study, Greek Life & Philanthropy, written by Pete Parker and NPcatalyst, a large group of random students volunteering at a fundraiser were questioned about the level of involvement that Greek alumni members displayed as voluntary leaders. The results displayed that 90% of students answered that the presence and involvement of the alumni members as leaders was very strong. Subsequently, a pie chart was created to display the financial contribution the alumni members provided towards a fraternity compared to its sister sorority (each chapters held separate fundraisers the same day). The data from the pie chart displayed that the alumni members donated an equal amount of money to both houses in which was described as a ‘nearly perfect split’. These passionate acts of selflessness and philanthropy exemplified by Greek alumni members could evoke a tone of selflessness among the students, thus benefitting the moral values of the community.
In conclusion, based off of the examples listed above, the entire community of any college stands to benefit from Greek chapters and their dedicated alumni members. While fraternities and sororities may be under considerable amounts of scrutiny for actions committed by a few, it is up to them to set a standard and prove the stereotype wrong. It is suggested that current fraternity and sorority members mirror the actions and morals of their Greek elders if they intend to attain continuity in their chapter. If increased levels of selflessness and compassion were implemented within Greek life, the stereotype will undoubtedly shift to a more positive outlook.